Three Visits to America (5)

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CHAPTER XIII.


American hotel despotism; hours for meals—The journey across the desert from Ogden—The disappearance of the Indians and buffaloes from the railroad tracts—The flight of antelopes—The Sierra-Nevada mountains—San Francisco—Palace Hotel—Bell-boys and hotel servants generally—China-town in its New-Year garb—Cable-cars—Drives to the Cliff House through the park and to the Presidio—Wooden houses—Fires and the Fire Brigade—Dr. Hardy's Foundling Hospital on Golden Gate Avenue.


THERE is no despotism more thorough than that of an American Hotel.  Breakfast, luncheon, dinner, and supper are served between fixed hours, and neither love nor money will obtain anything to eat save at those fixed periods.  The unhappy traveller who arrives after the supper-room is closed must go to bed fasting; and still worse is the plight of those who leave before the breakfast hour, for sleep may relieve the sufferings of the former, but what is to become of those who start on a long journey fasting?  The fact is that the cooks, and most of the waiters, in American hotels only come into the house at specified times for their appointed duties.  The key is turned on the larder and store closet, and food can not possibly be had till the return of the man in possession.  The English custom of having meals when they are required, is utterly unknown and undreamt of in their philosophy.  Not even a cup of coffee could we obtain before we left the Continental Hotel at Salt Lake City to catch the early express passing through Ogden, and but for my skilful companion's spirit lamp, which enables her to furnish a cup of tea "on the cars," together with a luncheon basket kindly provided for us by the wife of the English banker, we should have perished by the way!  We were told that we should have at least an hour for breakfast at Ogden, but our train was late, and there was barely time to secure our tickets and catch the San Francisco express.

    Our journey for the first day was dull enough: vast deserts of sand had to be crossed, but toward nightfall a heavy snow was encountered, and droves of antelopes came flying down in such numbers from the mountains that while they crossed the track the train was obliged to come to a full stop.

    A few Indians, here and there, en route had been visible at the smaller depots, besmeared with yellow ochre, and dressed in red blankets, their untidy squaws ornamented like themselves with cheap jewellery, all of them ready to beg for a ten-cent piece or tobacco, but showing no trace whatever of the warlike red man of romantic story.  The most characteristic Indians I ever saw during my three tours in America were at the Indian delegation at Philadelphia.  Lone Wolf, Doghater, Milkyway, Chewing Elk, Gray Eagle, Heap o' Bears, Yellow Horse, and Yar-Lou-Pee, were introduced to me in the charge of Captain Alvord.  They were accompanied by their interpreters and squaws, and when presented with flowers, passed them, to my amusement, with every sign of contempt, to the ladies.  But the Indians of the plains are almost myths as far as the railroad vision extends, though there are several Indian reservations in the interior.  Winnemucca, near Paradise Valley, is so named after the chief of the Piute tribe, who is now about seventy-eight years old, and much respected by his followers.

    In these degenerate prosaic days no particular excitements are afforded the railroad traveller.  The Piute and the Shoshone, like the poet's "rolling seas of shaggy humpbacked buffaloes," who break like thunder against the foothills, are things of the past as far as he is concerned.  A train is still sometimes attacked by bandits—especially on the southern road—if there is known to be a sufficient prize on board; but otherwise the Pacific tourist, as a rule, now travels as calmly across those vast stretches of desert as the London cockney does from Shoreditch to Bow, at least as regards the dread of any human violence.

    The unmanned tempest that rides and reigns in these regions is the Conqueror, however, before whose sway man will be forever powerless, even when aided by Nature's greatest discovered force.  The wild winds of heaven have blown trains from the track ere now; and when the snow descends, as American snow is wont to descend—five feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains sometimes fall in a day—engines are rendered powerless, the cars are frozen to the rails, and hopelessly imbedded in the drifts.  Passengers have sometimes been thus imprisoned for twenty-four hours, and finally had to make their escape on foot to a "rescue train" half a mile the other side of the snow-drift.

    Some such fate seemed likely to befall me during this journey to San Francisco, for it soon became evident that there was bad weather ahead, and by the time we began the ascent of the Sierra-Nevada mountains it was all the train could do to make its way through the heaviest fall of the season.  At Truckee we reached the summit of the range, after passing through a snow-shed thirty miles long, where a considerable loss of time occurred.  I shall never forget the beauty of the falling snow, and the amazing size of the flakes as they curled through the air, and shut out the sight of the pines on the mountain sides.  The solemn stillness of those vast voiceless plains made me realize I had indeed entered "a wide domain of mysteries."  Its awful solitude strikes you even when in a weather-bound train full of passengers eager to reach the busy turmoil of the city life so far beyond.  Truckee is about 200 miles from San Francisco, and the snow-sheds, essential to winter travel, are chiefly between Strong Cannon Station and Emigrant Gap, costing from 8,000 dollars to 30,000 per mile, and shutting out of sight some of the most exquisite scenery near Donner Lake.  The traveller has to be content with glimpses which only make him, like Oliver, "ask for more," and but for the attention of the Pullman conductor, who warned me when we were approaching the "observation holes," I should have lost even these peeps at the natural beauties concealed within the Sierras.

    A marvellous change awaited us on the other side of the "Blue Canyon."  We simply passed from winter into summer weather, from the dazzling white snow to the greenest verdure I ever saw.  No transformation scene in any theatre could be more complete or rapid, and I realized that I was really in the enchanted land of California.  On sped the train through picturesque valleys, green with luxuriant foliage, striking below Atta, the slope of Bear River, and winding through the hills till Cape Horn was reached.  Here the very railroad itself edges the precipitous bluff nearly 2,000 feet above the river.  The wondrous chasm is almost too fearful for contemplation in this position.  No train passes without paying its tribute to this stupendous gorge.  It comes to a reverent standstill while the passengers, awe-stricken and breathless, gaze into the depths of that marvellous ravine.  Except at Giant's Gap there is no railroad view to surpass this.  The mining town beyond, and the houses and fields across the river, were like mere playthings in the vast distance.

    Then mining camps were passed, known by the upturned earth, with its rich red soil hinting at the precious ore within.  Most singular are the names given by the miners to their "diggings":—Red Dog, You Bet, Jackass Gulch, Brandy Flat, Gospel Swamp, Slap Jack, Grizzly Flat, and Poverty Hill, may be given as specimens of their owners' humour!  Gold Run has now become quite a little town, and at Dutch Flat there are three separate mining companies, and the best hydraulic mining in California.

    When Sacramento is announced, the long journey seems drawing to a close.  This is a place full of pleasant houses, where oranges, limes, and fig-trees flourish in all the luxuriance of semi-tropical vegetation.  Our train crossed the river on a drawbridge, and we passed into a marshy district, where mallard and canvas-back ducks disported themselves by the side of the water, heedless of our intrusion through their peaceful domains.  At last, long after the shades of evening had closed around us, our train steamed into Oakland.  We had still the bay to cross before reaching San Francisco, and this last six miles of the journey introduced me to the magnificent ferry-boats used in this region of the world.

    Considering that "the glorious climate of California" has been extolled wherever the English language is spoken, the reception accorded by the weather certainly astonished me.  I have seen a good deal of rain in England, I know something of the Scotch climate, but never did I encounter such a downpour of heavy persistent rain as the first night I spent in San Francisco.  Fortunately my umbrella is my constant companion, as it answers the purposes of a walking-stick, and it certainly never had such a thorough drenching as it received during my exit from the luxurious saloon through the uncovered way to the landing-stage.

    It was past nine o'clock before I secured the shelter, of the Palace Hotel.  There I found a deputation of leading citizens awaiting me with a hearty welcome, and from that hour, till I reluctantly bid farewell to the city, kind friends were at hand to offer every possible hospitality and escort to the different places of interest in the city.

    The Palace Hotel reminded me of the Louvre and the Grand Hotel in Paris, having a vast courtyard, round which the 750 rooms are built, the whole occupying two acres and a half of land.  When all the six galleries are lighted up at night, and the band is discoursing sweet music in the courtyard below, while the gaily dressed ladies walk about the twelve feet wide corridors belonging to each story, the effect is very striking.

    The attendance is the difficulty which remains to be solved in these monster hotels; residents everywhere complain bitterly of the time they have to wait between sending up their card to friends and being admitted to their sitting-rooms.  And woe betide the unwary "guests" who do not see their letters safely deposited in the office mail box.  Being of a naturally submissive temperament, I always bowed to the American rule which even excludes ladies from going to the office when bills have to be paid, and I accordingly confided my letters and newspapers to the negro gentleman told off to answer my "parlour" bell, until I discovered that they sometimes reposed for days in the darky's pocket, and reached their destination too late to be of any use.  For instance, the letters written to Los Angeles from the Palace Hotel, arrived there a week late, two hours after I had reached Mrs. Severance's house, though I did not leave San Francisco till the middle of the week, and made a halt at Fresno on the road.  And yet a staff of about 150 servants is kept at the Palace Hotel.  When I first visited America I was warned not to offer "tips" to the servants in the hotels or private houses.  The freeborn claimant to perfect equality would scorn such a douceur and regard it as an insult.  But times have greatly changed, and with increasing civilization has disappeared all antipathy to gratuities.  A "tip" is now quite as powerful and necessary an incentive on the one side of the Atlantic as the other, and the traveller who expects to be comfortable in an American hotel without a free distribution of dollars will soon be disenchanted.  As the division of labour is much greater in that country than at home, the inroad into one's purse is pretty considerable.  For instance, in most hotels four bell-boys reign in each corridor; on their sovereign will depends the kind of service you receive; when it is also borne in mind that these gentlemen answer your bell and receive your commands, simply to direct some other individual to fulfil them, it will be understood how completely your comfort is in the hands of these functionaries.  Boy nature is much the same all over the world, and I can positively affirm that the alacrity of the Yankee specimen of the genus depends entirely upon his confidence of a weekly stipend, or the certainty of hearing the magic words "keep the change" whenever you give him a dime for a two-cent newspaper.  Then there is the head porter, the baggage man, chamber-maid, the fireman, the waiter in the breakfast-room, another at dinner, the man in the elevator, and above all the gentleman who presides at meals, and places you at any table he pleases, and remorselessly excludes you from the room if you are late for breakfast, unless the certainty that a dollar will occasionally be transferred from your pocket into his own, leads to a liberal interpretation of the precise moment for closing the door.  Although dwellers in American hotels are styled "guests," they are furnished with tolerably heavy weekly bills, which are slipped under the bedroom door about five o'clock every Monday morning, and with the said fees make a heavy item in the account-book of the traveller who appreciates prompt attention and courtesy.

    I was much amused at an interview between a friend of mine and a bell-boy in a Cincinnati hotel.  The boy lingered about the room, but finding he did not attract the young Englishman's attention, observed: "I am the boy that bought your tooth-brush."  (Silence on the part of the "guest.")

    "If it had been known I had gone out to get your tooth-brush, I should have been discharged," plaintively continues the "untipped" messenger.  (Still no reply.)

    "It is not my business to get your coals, and the fireman has gone off for the night, but if you want any, I will get some to oblige you."  (Pause.)  "The gentleman in twenty-seven gave the boy who fetched his yesterday half a dollar," irrelevantly remarks the boy.

    At last rendered desperate and driven to bay by the silence preserved by the apparently imperturbable Briton, who was in reality thoroughly amused and determined to have the end of the comedy, the boy exclaimed: "What are you going to give me for getting your tooth-brush?"

    Washing is another serious expenditure, and the first bill gives the English tourist a "genuine scare."  The prices charged threw a new light upon the absence of linen collars and cuffs, and the substitution of black lace in the ordinary American lady's costume.  Notices are placed in the bedrooms that "no washing is to be done in the room, and no washer women are allowed to call at the hotels."  You are delivered over to the tender mercies of the laundry attached to the hotel; the prices vary in each except in being uniformly extortionate.  In some of these laundries the linen is returned with your full name carefully written on the various articles in marking ink.  Once I was much the gainer for this singular practice, though it generally happens that your name is placed where you least like to see it.  My friend's washing had been enclosed in mine, and when it was returned, to her indignation it bore in large, conspicuous letters, in most indelible marking ink, my full name beside her modest initials.  Accordingly she presented me with a very handsome set of pocket handkerchiefs, which she naturally objected to use under the circumstances, though she endured the ignominy of apparently wearing my property where the obnoxious mark was on articles well concealed from view.  From twelve to fifteen shillings was the average of our weekly expenditure for these washing privileges while sojourning in American hotels, which, according to English prices, is certainly a high enough charge for two ladies who never wore white petticoats or washing dresses.

    I arrived in San Francisco just in time to visit the Chinese quarter during the New Year festivities of the "Celestials."  Strange indeed to English eyes were the mottoes and devices painted on the signboards of the various stores—"Hop Wo," "Tin Yuk," "Hang Hi," "Chung Sun," "Shan Tong."  The Chinese doctors hang out boards, on one of which we found "Yeang Tsz Zing feels the pulse and heals the most difficult and unheard-of diseases."  Wholesale dealers in opium hang out red cards with appropriate scrolls; the "Fan Tan" saloons have their insignias, such as "Get rich and please come in," tempting the passer to try his luck at the game of chance.  We visited several of the stores belonging to the leading merchants, and found them clad in long robes and silken trousers.  They receive visitors with the salutation, "Kong hi fat choy," an equivalent to our "Happy New Year."  Then we went to the Josh Houses or temples, which contained some fine specimens of carving, embroidery, and bronzes, and such extraordinary idols, before whom are spread roasted pig and chicken, with sweetmeats and cups of tea, while lamps burn in the midst.  The air is full of the smell of the incense from sandal-wood, mingled with the fumes of opium pipes.  Worship takes place at no set time; the Chinaman performs his devotions at his own bidding, except on the birthday of the gods.  So you see in the temples the strange spectacle of one man apparently muttering prayers before some ugly-looking idol, another is consulting the Josh by balancing bamboo splints, and a third is prostrating himself on the ground before a tinsel image.  Kwan Tai seems the favourite deity, and is adorned with a long black beard and a very red face.  Wah Tah is the god of medicine, and holds a coated pill in his hand, while Tsoi Pak Shing Kwun is the god of wealth, and appropriately wields a bar of bullion.  On the first and fifteenth of the month the married women pay special devotion to the goddess of mercy, whom they hold in great veneration.  There is happily much missionary work now going on in this city; churches and schools have been opened specially for the Chinese, and I was invited to a home where Chinese women are taught sewing and useful occupations by ladies who endeavour at the same time to redeem them from paganism.

    In the evening during these New Year carousals, China-town presented a very gay appearance, being illuminated with Chinese lanterns.  We were nearly suffocated with the fire-crackers which were exploded on all sides in such a wholesale manner that I expected the city itself would be on fire.  But the strangest sight of all is the Chinese theatre.  The plays take about three weeks in representation; the discordant orchestra is ensconced in an alcove at the back of the stage; there is "no curtain," no scenery, no female performers, and if an actor is slain he lies on the floor for a minute, and then gets up and walks away.  The acrobatic feats, which are introduced on every possible occasion, are simply marvellous.  No wonder that one of the Girards gained his inspiration from this source.  The costumes are gorgeous and grotesque in the extreme, and a very short stay at this peculiar entertainment is quite sufficient for the most stage-struck English playgoer.  The Chinaman, like the Mormon, indulges in polygamy, and the "small feet" wives are never seen on the streets.  Champagne and choice confections are pressed on the visitors at this season, and the festivities are kept up for several days, during which time business is quite suspended.

    For the most part it must be confessed that Chinatown is a filthy place, and yet, singular to relate, the Chinese, as a rule, are very clean in their own persons.  I have seen the bedroom of a Chinese cook in a friend's house, which was not only scrupulously well kept, but daintily decorated with flowers.  The bed was white as snow, and though the room was only the size of an ordinary steamer cabin, it was screened off by a coloured curtain, his absolutely clean change of raiment hung on a peg; beside this, on the table was a vase of lilies, and not a speck of dust could be detected anywhere.  The "hoodlums"—the name for the California gamin—chase and ridicule these poor half-shaved, almond-eyed "celestials," with their inexpressive faces, queer pigtails, brown skin, jet-black hair, clad in loose garments and wooden shoes, and with pantaloons made tight to the ankle with white bandages.  If they were new importations into the country these wretched boys could not hoot at them more vehemently when they meet them off their own special ground.  There the hoodlum would undoubtedly act the worst of it, and with commendable wisdom the little cowards wait their opportunity elsewhere.

    It is no wonder that a city of such vast distances as San Francisco claims the honour of having introduced the use of cable cars, which run in such a truly mysterious fashion that the newly-imported Chinaman's remark, "No pushee, no pullee, go like hellee," best describes their rapid transit through the streets, and up the steep hills, for which this town is famous.  These cable roads are quite a feature of life here, and one is thankful to think that a wire-rope, three inches in circumference, run into an iron tube beneath the surface of the street, between the rails, can save poor horses the cruel task of climbing the steep grades throughout the city.  An iron arm from the car catches the cable securely, and can be released at will by the operator.  The only time I objected to these cars was when they followed our carriage at full speed down some steep incline, while the coachman showed no symptoms of getting out of the way; for if this necessary operation is not performed in time the result is somewhat unpleasant for the carriage and its occupants, though the cable car gaily passes on its way, leaving unconcernedly behind it, a cracked-up vehicle, injured horses, and alarmed, if not bruised and shaken passengers.  I fortunately escaped such untoward experiences myself, but on the Geary Street Hill I have seen more than one accident.  An unfortunate carriage on its side with broken wheels and pole is the retribution which follows a disinclination to give the right of way in due time to the cable car, which certainly commands the road, if "might means right" in this land of independence.

    San Francisco may well boast of its location.  Naples and Edinburgh justly pride themselves upon their surroundings, but the "Queen," or "Bay City" of California is simply perfect; with the Pacific Ocean at her feet, the Golden Gate which leads to the harbour, and the hills on all sides, she has a position of unrivalled beauty.  The drives through the Park to the Cliff House and to the Presidio, the military post, and to Fort Point, are magnificent.  A few years since this park of 11,000 acres was a sand waste.  Now it is covered for the most part with grass plots, thousands of trees have been planted in it, pines, cypresses, mimosas, and the evergreen Australian gum-tree; the brilliant scarlet geraniums are growing eight feet high, and flowering shrubs on all sides delight the eye, while the air is filled with their sweet fragrance.

    The Golden Gate is of course seen to most perfection by those who enter the harbour by sea; but I was quite content with looking at it from the surrounding hills, and I shall long remember a pleasant day spent at the Cliff House, where some Californian friends entertained us at luncheon, and we spent the afternoon watching the far-famed seal rocks, where hundreds of sea lions disport themselves—sometimes basking in the glorious sun, then diving into the water, talking in their strange language, with the peculiar bark for which they are noted, their weird and discordant voices being heard far above the Pacific Ocean breakers which wash the shores.  This is justly esteemed one of the city's chief attractions, and these rocks and their inhabitants are rigorously protected by the authorities.

    "Why are these splendid mansions built of wood instead of granite or even brick?" is the natural question which rises to one's lips on being introduced to the magnificent houses of Mrs. Mark Hopkins, Mr. Crocker, Mr. Leland Stanford, and other millionaires in California Street.  Some people told me it was ordained by the imperative law of fashion; a physician assured me "that stone houses were damp and unsuitable in this climate"; others darkly intimated it was due to the frequency of earthquakes.

    Let the reason be what it may, the fact remains that the first stone residence has only just been commenced for Mr. James G. Flood.  It may perhaps bring about a new era in house building, but the house itself will not be completed for two years.  It will be built of brown stone from the Connecticut quarries, of the same character as that so largely used in New York, although granite quarries abound in the immediate neighbourhood of this city.

    In the meantime the wooden houses, built of red Pine wood, and heated throughout with furnaces, are terribly dangerous; when they once catch fire it is difficult to stop the conflagration or prevent it from spreading.  Two blocks from the Palace Hotel, a large lumber yard, close to the shipping docks, caught fire one night, and I watched from the windows of the beautiful suite of rooms always occupied by Christine Nilssan during her visits to this city, one of the most terrible fires I ever saw.  For some time it seemed as if nothing would avert its progress, and the greatest excitement prevailed.  At times the flames seemed nearing the Grand Hotel just opposite, at other times they lighted up the ships in the harbour till they stood out like so many spectre vessels.  At last, in a lull of the smoke which was being vomited forth while blazing rafts shot up into the evening skies, we saw that the brave men had reached the roof, and had the fire-hose in full operation on the burning pile; and after considerable effort it was evident that the fire was under control.  The fire-brigade here is in splendid condition; more than three hundred men are engaged in the service.  The average number of fires is twenty-five in a month, and the red pine-wood, though it soon makes a fierce blaze, also absorbs the water very rapidly, so that a well-directed stream early applied saves many a house, thanks to the promptitude of the fire patrol.

    I was greatly interested in the Foundling Hospital on the Golden Gate Avenue, to which I was introduced by Dr. and Mrs. Hardy.  It was a strange sight to find in one nursery more than a dozen little infants one or two days old.  Upwards of a thousand have been admitted since the institution opened, and for the most part they are adopted by wealthy but childless parents, who, in many cases, adopt them as their own, and preserve the terrible secret which surrounds its birth both from the child itself and inquisitive neighbours.  The unhappy mothers, thanks to the Christian-like spirit and watchful discretion exercised by Dr. Hardy, are given every chance to make a fresh start in life, and are thus saved from the abyss of despair which drives so many to total destruction.  Stern moralists have ventured to urge that such unfortunate girls should not be saved from the consequences of their evil doings; but very different are the teachings of the great Master, who shamed the Pharisees of old by suggesting that those without sin should cast the first stone, while He gently bade the penitent woman to go her way and sin no more.


 
CHAPTER XIV.


Strange contrasts afforded—Drinking and total abstinence—Divorces—Fast sets and earnest reform workers—Mrs. Sarah B. Cooper—Free Kindergartens—Mr. Tabor's Art Gallery—Lotta Crabtree's fountain—The Baldwin Hotel—Mr. Highton—Silk culture—Efforts of Mrs. Hittell and the State Board—Prizes won at the Philadelphia Exhibition by California ladies for the best silk cocoons raised in the United States—Commercial opportunities of San Francisco—The Immigration Association—Chinese labour question.


SAN FRANCISCO is a city of strange contrasts.  Perhaps there is not a faster place in the world, and yet there are few more conspicuous for works of true be benevolence.  There is more drinking, and more fanatical total abstinence, than I ever encountered elsewhere; more flagrant use of rouge and cosmetics, more extreme dressing and devotion to pleasure among the fashionable people who live in the hotels, or on "Nob Hill"—the local slang for California Street.  The number of divorces compared with marriages in this State is fearfully large—"more than one in every ten," I was told by a lawyer who seemed an authority.  This may account for the extraordinary boast of a San Francisco boy, who, incited by his Chicago friend's remarks on his "Ma's gold watch, diamond pin, and new sealskin sacque, costing six hundred dollars," contemptuously observed, "Pooh! that's nothing; my ma's got a new divorce."  Certainly this freedom is one of the marked features of Western life.

    It must be admitted that there is to be found in America, and especially in San Francisco, a terribly fast so-called society set, engrossed by the emptiest and most trivial pleasures, slaves to fashion, and with scarcely a thought beyond their promenades, dancing parties, and the number of dresses they will have for their annual visit to a popular watering-place.  The one aim and end of the existence of some women is the modiste and a millionaire.  After what I saw with my own eyes I could scarcely marvel at a preacher's vigorous condemnation of the heartless frivolity to be seen on all sides.  "The first characteristic of these ladies," said this New York divine, "is their extravagant adornment of their persons"; he then proceeded to allude to a well-known belle, whose wardrobe is insured for more than 20,000 dollars, concluding by a denouncement which he dared not have made had there not been sufficient justification for it.  He charged this fast section of his countrywomen with being neither true in speech nor action, and added, "There is unchastity among them, and they know it.  They dress to excite the lower passions of men, and all the time they know they are sacrificing themselves.  Consequently the fashionable woman sometimes sinks into an abyss of shame, and disappears from society altogether.  Men talk a little, and some women shudder,—but that is the end of the story."

     There is, however, another side to the picture, and in this very city will be found a pleasant, intellectual, cultured society, and also a large number of earnest workers in reforms of all kinds.  Notable among the latter is Mrs. Sarah B. Cooper, a bright, genial lady, whom to know is "a liberal education," and whose work in the various social movements for the improvement of the people is such that she is justly regarded, far and wide, as one of the best types of representative American women.  "If one woman alone is enough to redeem a whole nation, that woman is Mrs. Cooper," was the thought that forced itself on my mind after but a very short association with this remarkable lady, so earnest and quiet, so firm, yet so conciliating, with a keen insight into character, but such a tender charitable judgment, possessing, in short, all that is best, truest, and most human, conveyed by that one much abused word, "Christian."  "To see her at her best you should attend her Sunday Bible-class," exclaimed one of her enthusiastic followers, who was telling me of the cruel trial Mrs. Cooper had experienced in being tried by a Presbyterian Church for heresy, for which she was naturally unanimously acquitted.  This, however, I was unfortunately unable to do; therefore I shall quote Miss Frances Willard's picture of the scene: "Men and women of high character and rare thoughtfulness were gathered, Bibles in hand, to hear the exposition of the acquitted heretic, whom a Pharisaical deacon had begun to assail contemporaneously with her outstripping him in popularity as an expounder of the gospel of love.  Mrs. Cooper entered quietly by a side door, seated herself at a table level with the pews, laid aside her fur-lined cloak, and revealed a fragile but symmetric figure, somewhat above the medium height, simply attired in black, with pose and movements altogether graceful, and while perfectly self-possessed, at the furthest remove from being self-assertive.  Then I noted a sweet, untroubled brow, soft brown hair chastened with a tinge of silver (frost that fell before its time, doubtless, at the doughty deacon's bidding); blue eyes, large, bright, and loving; nose of the noblest Roman, dominant yet sensitive, chiselled by generations of culture, the unmistakable expression of highest force and mettlesomeness in character, held in check by all the gentlest sentiments; a mouth firm, yet delicate, full of the smiles that follow tears.

    "The teacher's method was not that of pumping in, but drawing out.  There were no extended monologues, but the Socratic style of colloquy—brief, comprehensive, passing rapidly from point to point, characterized the most suggestive and helpful hour I ever spent in Bible class.  There was not the faintest effort at rhetorical effect; not a suspicion of the hortatory in manner, but all was so fresh, simple, and earnest, that in contrast to the pabulum too often served up on similar occasions, this was nutritious essence."  Mrs. Cooper lives in a lovely little house in Vallejo Avenue, overlooking the Golden Gate, surrounded by her books; a devoted husband and daughter complete the circle, and before I left San Francisco I indeed had reason to feel grateful for the introduction that had brought me into social intercourse with that happy, genial trio; for unlike many other public workers, the inmates of Mrs. Cooper's own household are those who most enthusiastically "rise up and call her blessed."

    Mrs. Cooper's work in the formation of Kindergartens interested me deeply.  Recognizing that the hope of the future lies in the children of to-day, she has succeeded in convincing her fellow-citizens that dollars invested in schools are better outlays than money spent for costly prisons and reformatories.  America has always maintained the principle that every child, whether rich or poor, should be educated, so that he might have, as far as may be, a fair chance in life; and of late years she has recognized very extensively that the system of Fröbel is a powerful agency for unfolding, strengthening, and increasing every faculty of mind and body, especially when applied to the little waifs of the byways and alleys which unhappily exist in the midst of her newer civilization, as much as in the crowded cities of the old world.  Great as woman's influence is on all questions of human interest, it is nowhere of more importance than in dealing with those matters which relate to the welfare of children.  Here, indeed, is her sovereign sphere, and no one will dispute her right to guide schemes devised for the training of the sensitive little souls, so soon shaped for good or evil during the pliable days of infancy.  Teaching is held by some to be essentially "masculine," and best done by men, but training, they assert, is "feminine," and woman's peculiar mission.  Certainly the great importance of good early training during the first few years of life can not be over-estimated, and Mrs. Cooper, and the noble band of women who are working with her in this direction, try to secure it, for the worse than motherless little city outcasts, by the establishment of free kindergartens.  The teacher needs motherly tenderness joined to a quick insight into character, and the knack of dealing with each separate child according to its special needs and peculiarities.  "In fact," said Mrs. Cooper, in discussing this subject, "she needs to be forty mothers condensed into one."  She must secure that "happy atmosphere" in which alone children really thrive.  Nothing gloomy must enter "the children's garden"—"no profit grows where no pleasure is taken"—their play must be made instructive, so that imperceptibly it is turned to good account.  The very toys teach the children to think and to invent, and industry and perseverance are thus unconsciously grafted on the virgin soil.

    Fortunately Kindergartens need now no advocacy or expounding; nearly every one is agreed, both in America and England, as to their usefulness in the case of children under ten years of age.  Fröbel's plans have been modified to suit the English National and School Boards, and some time since received the endorsement of the Elementary Teachers' Union at their gathering at the South Kensington Museum, as "in the highest degree successful."  But in both countries help is needed for the establishment of free Kindergartens; in Mrs. Cooper's case, she pleads for little children of both sexes, from three to six years of age, "that they may be rescued from the pernicious influence of the streets, and taught cleanliness, order, and industry."  Very nobly have the citizens of San Francisco responded; not only have the millionaires, who built that vast railroad which practically annihilates the distance between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, given generously of their wealth, but their wives are personally assisting in the work in every way in their power.  The clear climate and bright sunshine of California seems to act like Italian skies on the children and their artistic proclivities are very marked.  I saw some capital specimens of their work in this direction through the kindness of Miss Marwedel, a German lady who is also promoting the system in its higher branches.

    "Miss Emma Marwedel may be termed a most heroic pioneer, for she has now devoted seven years absolutely to this work on the Pacific coast," said Mrs. Cooper; "she has now a flourishing Normal School and private Kindergarten at the corner of Van Ness Avenue and Sacramento Street, but still continues to render noble service to the charity Kindergartens of this city."

    I had the great satisfaction of helping forward the movement in some degree by lecturing both in Chicago and San Francisco for the schools and the teachers' institute, and I was much touched by the kind tribute paid by the board of management, of the latter city, who in recognition of my effort in their behalf, named one of their schools "The Emily Faithfull Kindergarten."  I can only trust that the school will behave better than the ship which was named after me, some years ago in Liverpool, and which impatiently broke away from her moorings before the hour appointed for the christening ceremonial!

    San Francisco, altogether, takes a very high place for the educational advantages she affords; the Boston system has been wisely taken as the model on which her Normal High Schools have been organized, and there is no doubt that the splendid teachers of to-day will leave their impress on the entire State.  I hold myself as specially fortunate in having been brought into such pleasant social communion with most of them during my visit to the city.

    The hospitals are also exceptionally good; churches of course abound, and the handsome drinking fountain presented by Lotta Crabtree is a pleasing memorial of the good-will which exists between the clever actress and the place in which she achieved her early success.

    The Baldwin Hotel runs the Palace very hard, and is perhaps more desirable for family residence.  A charming dinner was given me there by the principal legal light of San Francisco, Mr. Highton, and his agreeable Greek wife.  Mr. Highton, though now a thorough American, is of English origin; his father, who has been very conspicuous for his work in the reformation of prisoners, being a cousin of the Shakespearean scholar, Mr. Gilbert Highton, well known in connection with the Greek plays at the Westminster School in London.

    No one leaves San Francisco without visiting Tabor's Art Gallery, and most distinguished visitors leave a very remarkable likeness behind them.  Directly I entered the rooms I was arrested by the most vivid counterfeit of Mr. G. A. Sala; he seemed on the point of returning my recognition, as I pointed out to my companion his well-known features, bearing his most genial, good-natured expression.  Around his photograph were several well-known faces—the Marquis of Lorne, Duke of Sutherland, poor Lord Grosvenor, Bret Harte,  Oscar Wilde, and many others, and the marvellous photographs of American scenery certainly involve a "break" in the direction of your bank, or the precept enjoined by the Tenth Commandment.  Fresh from seeing the marvels to be found in the great West and on the Pacific coast, the wonderful canyons, waterfalls, geysers, and mountain passes, one can not resist taking back such rare reproductions for the benefit of friends at home, and as a pleasant memorial of a delightful trip through some of the finest scenery in America.

    Mr. Tabor is a genuine artist, and benefits to the utmost by the unusual advantages offered to photographers by this climate.  His views of the Yosemite Valley are well known throughout Europe, and have, to my knowledge, already induced travellers to start off to see for themselves these magnificent Californian trees, as well as the Yellowstone Park, the mining wonders of Leadville and Nevada, and the cascades in Oregon.

    The State Board of Silk Culture afforded me every opportunity of studying this growing Californian industry.  Mrs. J. H. Hittell, from whom I received much kindness, first brought the matter before the Horticultural Society, and her able paper attracted so much attention that the interest culminated in the organization of the Woman's Silk Culture Association.  This society commenced negotiations with silk growers and manufacturers in different countries, and elicited the co-operation of people throughout the State.

    America now claims to lead the world in the manufacture of spun or waste silk, and let me here pay a tribute to the ingenuity and patient industry of Messrs. Cheney Brothers, whose splendid mills and excellent arrangements for their operatives are well known to travellers passing through South Manchester, in Connecticut.  They began by importing the raw material from Italy, and finally discovered methods for doing with machinery what had hitherto been only accomplished by hand.  When we reflect that at the present moment there are more than 50,000 people employed in the 400 silk manufactories in America, and more than a million dollars' worth of silk used every month, it becomes evident that silk culture promises, under proper direction, to prove a very important opening for the employment of women.  I am not, however, quite prepared to accept the view of the enthusiast who kindly brought me some beautiful specimens of the cocoons and native raw silk, and assured me that if I could induce "families to emigrate from the rural districts of England to this new Eldorado," my name would "shine in the history of the State as the name of Moses shines for leading Israel through the wilderness into the land of promise."

    Chinese silk is so shamefully adulterated as to cause a loss of about forty per cent. to the manufacturers, and the investigations of the California Silk Culture Commissioners, and the experiments made by the silk-reeling school and filature, seem to point, as the only sure way to develop this profitable industry, to national legislation, and an appropriation either in the form of money or land, similar to that given to agricultural institutions.

    The first step in silk culture is the planting and growing of mulberry trees.  Four hundred and thirty-five can be planted in one acre, and in twelve months the tree will be from twelve to fifteen feet high.  Then comes the hatching and feeding of the worms, which is best done in California when the rainy season is over.  The eggs will hatch in a temperature of from eighty to ninety degrees, in a period of from three to seven days.  About forty days is required for their development before they are ready to spin the cocoons; meantime they must be fed on fresh leaves free from excessive moisture, and during the moulting process they require great care and quiet.  Once ready for work, the worm seeks some convenient spot, and toils incessantly till the cocoon is done.  This is from an inch to an inch and a half long, and half as thick, oval in shape, and of a yellow or white colour.  It has a woolly covering of floss silk, which is first spun by the worm as a kind of support, and within is the silken cocoon proper.  This is made of one continuous thread, about 1,200 feet long, spun round itself, but unless the temperature is warm, the thread is shorter.  After this the worm escapes from the cocoon, is transformed into a beautiful butterfly, and eggs are laid—usually 300 in number, and then, having provided for a new generation, it dies.  If, on the other hand, the cocoons are needed for reeling, then the chrysalides in the cocoon are destroyed by heat, which must not be too great, lest it should spoil the silk.  In California the sun is found sufficiently powerful; in colder climates a heated oven is required.

    Mrs. Hittell furnished me with the following items regarding the profits which may reasonably be expected from silk culture: "One acre planted properly with the mulberry tree will, in three or four years, yield 50,000 pounds of leaves, enough to feed 1,000,000 worms.  If the object be only to raise eggs, each female will produce from 200 to 400.  The average is 300.  Take the lowest number for our calculation, and only one in ten of the worms.  100,000 females yield 20,000,000 eggs.  40,000 eggs weigh an ounce.  You thus have 500 ounces.  The eggs sell readily for two dollars an ounce.  The product is therefore 1,000 dollars an acre on the lowest yield of eggs from one tenth of the worms.  If, however, the cocoons are to be reeled off at home, 2,500 cocoons yield one pound of raw silk.  The entire yield will therefore be 400 pounds.  The average price of raw silk is 7.50 dollars per pound.  This equals 3,000 dollars.  The total for eggs and reeled silk is 4,000 dollars.  Deduct from this one-half for accidents and all possible expenses, you still have a net profit of from 1,500 to 2,000 dollars an acre"—a promising statement which Mrs. Hittell assured me was founded on well-digested facts; and Mr. Provost, in the Silk Growers' Manual, even estimates the net profits of one acre, for experienced growers, at 3,000 dollars.

    California seems peculiarly suited to this industry, for with but little labour it can produce more prolific crops of mulberry leaves than any other State.  The temperature is adapted for the development of the silk-worm; and in a few years silk culture will probably rank among one of its must profitable pursuits, affording employment to many women in factories, and to large numbers within their own homes.  It is pre-eminently a family industry; for small experiments scarcely any capital is required, and but little land.  It is said that there are "thousands of acres of as good land to be bought in California to-day with less money per acre than the annual rentage would be in France, where the workers in silk culture grow the mulberry, mostly, on rented lands, live in rented homes, and raise, spin, and weave the silk which yields to their country 31,000,000 dollars every year.  Those who declare that the importation of eighty thousand Chinamen "crushes family life, and puts the future of the State in peril," fear that enterprising Chinese capitalists will set their own countrymen to the culture of mulberry farms all over the State in such numbers, that the production and trade in silk will be so secure in their hands that successful competition will be hopeless.  The danger is all the greater, as the product in California is so superior, the State is so peculiarly suited to the culture, and the Chinese are, by long familiarity with the business, the most expert of all nations in every branch of the industry."

    In France 40,000,000 dollars a year are earned by the women from silk culture.  Many of the women of Italy depend on it for their living; even Lombardy exports 30,000,000 dollars' worth of raw silk annually, after supplying all that is needed for the home market; and the silk manufacturing interest in that small province is immense.  Why, then, should not Californian women, with their quick intelligence, meet with equal success?  In the year 1882 it was shown by successful experiments in thirty-two different counties that California can produce the very best quality of silk.  At the National Silk Culture Exhibition in Philadelphia, Mrs. Downing, of San Rafael, was awarded the first prize, 100 dollars, for the best silk cocoons raised in the United States the previous year.  Silk growers in twelve different States were represented in the competition.  Another prize of 50 dollars was awarded to Miss Julia B. Farnsworth, a school teacher of San José, who raised ninety pounds of cocoons, the work being done partly during the period of her school duties.

    The Governor and State Legislature have taken up the matter in good earnest, and the school established Commercial Street, where a steam-power reel is in operation, gives instruction to those anxious to learn filature work; here, too, cocoons are purchased, and eggs given to those who guarantee having a proper supply of food for them.  Five hundred silk-worms call be supplied by the leaves of one well-grown mulberry tree, and farmers are encouraged to plant these trees with a view to "home industry," which will enable his wife and daughters to earn several hundred dollars a year.  Left to industrious women, silk culture is said to thrive; when stock companies have attempted it, failure has hitherto been the result.  In a bulletin given me by the State Board, it is said that "large mulberry groves, large and crowded cocooneries, managed by superintendents, agents, clerks, and secretaries, and the work performed by a large force of labourers for the benefit of absent stockholders, have never paid, and they probably never will.  In all its history thus far silk culture has defied corporations."  On the other hand, it is urged that it will "pay the husband and father to help his family to engage in silk culture by planting a few trees for their use.  It will pay the philanthropist to foster silk culture, for it will provide employment for many who are now idle in the country and in the city.  It will pay the State to add silk culture to its other industries, for it will make its citizens richer.  It will pay our country to see that silk culture is extended to every agricultural family in the land, for it will keep at home among the people, many millions of dollars ever, year that we are now sending abroad to purchase what we could easily ourselves produce."

    San Francisco is one of the world's great thoroughfares, the veritable "warder of two continents," and it seems difficult to see how her commercial prosperity can ever be taken from her.  Other places, such as Portland, Guaymas, and San Diego, may grow and flourish beside her, but she will ever be the natural emporium of the Asiatic trade, and the distributing point for the islands of the Pacific Ocean.

    The western coast of the United States closely resembles Europe in many respects, though there is no part of the Old World where the mean temperature of January and July are so near together as in San Francisco, and much of the industry to be found in California, Oregon, and Washington Territory may be attributed to the mild winters and cool summers which prevail there.

    Favourable conditions are thus secured for both agricultural and horticultural pursuits; the great variety of configuration of the valleys, presenting endless checks and break-winds to the ocean breezes as they come in at the Golden Gate and sweep up the country, causes corresponding variations in the climate.  San Francisco itself suffers much from trade winds and fog, and while the air is balmy at noon, the mornings and evenings are apt to be chilly.  In fact, it seemed to me that California was a land of many climates, some of which could not be included under the term "glorious"!  The country, however, doubtless offers splendid opportunities to the industrious settler, and I accordingly accepted with great readiness the invitation received from the President of the Immigration Association to attend a Board meeting, and spend a few hours at the office to see meeting myself how their business is carried on.

    My visit was timed so as to enable me to be on the spot when the crowded emigrant train arrived at the depôt, where it is always met by an officer from the Association, who offers the free help and advice of this admirable undertaking to all strangers seeking "fresh fields and pastures new" in the State.

    All the gentlemen connected with this Immigration Association are persons of wealth and position, whose information can be thoroughly trusted.  Out of the nine Directors the by-laws compel five to be drawn from the Board of Trade.  All the office expenses—rent, secretary, clerks, etc.—are paid out of voluntary subscriptions; no property may be acquired, or land sold for profit, as the sole reward looked for is the growth and welfare of California by the introduction of the right people into the right places throughout the State.

    After a very interesting conversation with the different members of the Board, the secretary brought in the books for my inspection.  In one, the names of all applicants are enrolled; while others, with the help of maps, show the public lands still unoccupied, which amount to several millions of acres.  In what is termed the thermal or warm belt there is now enough unoccupied land, to be had from two to five dollars an acre, to produce all the oranges, lemons, limes, raisins, and figs that will be consumed in America during the next century, and it is peculiarly adapted to the cultivation of these fruits.

    At a signal from the President I entered the outer office just as these eager applicants from the old world trooped in, with the official who had met them on the arrival of the train.  I watched one after another enter his name in the book, his capacities in the direction of capital and labour, and his special knowledge or handicraft.  Then the "vacant lot" book was opened, the character of the soil in different districts described, the products ranged on the shelves round the room were freely handed about for inspection and discussion, and some were duly criticised.  No one can dispute the size of Californian fruit, but it must be confessed that this is sometimes its only merit.  The newness of the soil of course in a measure accounts for this, together with the extreme youth of the fruit trees.  The apple-tree grows too quickly here, and will never be able to compete with its eastern rival, the world-famed apples of New England, and it will take some time before Californian oranges will excel those of Florida.

    While the several virtues of the various soils and products were being explained to the emigrants from the overcrowded cities of Europe, it seemed as if these strangers and foreigners—English, Scotch, Germans, and Swedes—felt they had already found in the New World kind friends anxious to help them.  Directly a sufficient party can be formed for settlement in a certain district, the Association arranges for its departure by a special train, and sends one of its best officials to start the new settlers with as much comfort as possible in their future homes, having previously guided their purchases, both as regards household goods, farming appliances, and stock, with the judgment only to be gained by a long experience.  The value of such assistance can scarcely be overrated.  California is certainly a most prolific land; everything grows there with wonderful rapidity.  An industrious man has no difficulty in finding employment in any manual direction, but a terrible disappointment awaits the clerk or cashier who ventures there, for he will find that every place of the kind is more than filled.  I had several letters while in San Francisco from young Englishmen who were in despair at the false move they had made in coming out expecting to find berths of this kind.  Not the best letters of introduction could obtain for them a chance in this direction.  A mechanic with but a few dollars in hand will be able to make an excellent start in either Colorado or California, and with strict industry and economy he will secure a good position in a few years.  Ordinary labourers easily earn one or two dollars a-day, and skilled workmen get three or four.  Those who wish to buy land can easily come to the front with a capital of from fifty to two hundred dollars.

    The burning question of the day is the labour question.  Some people tell you that it has been increased tenfold by the action of the Government with regard to the "heathen Chinee"; others confirm the wisdom of the movement, and declare, "We have had enough of the cheap Chinese labour curse."  It can not be denied, however, that the Chinaman is still a great factor in the ranks of labour on the Pacific coast.  Of American homes the Chinese know nothing; and for American civilization they care nothing.  "These 80,000 anomalous labourers level our roads, build our railways, cultivate and can our fruits, catch and can our salmon, raise and peddle our vegetables, make our brooms, boots, and cigars, harvest our grain, work in our mines and vineyards, manufacture our woollens, compete for housework, sew and wash our linen, and make embroideries, ruches, and many of the fine rufflings which are worn by our women.  Step by step they are crowding into every possible industry.  We have become used to their presence, and have grown dependent upon them, in the same way that our own people in the Southern States became dependent upon their slaves.  Labour there became discrowned; and soon it will cease to be honourable here, if there be no change.  The Chinese hold to their creeds, to their degrading customs, their national prejudices, and their anti-American civilization to the destruction of our own"—is the testimony given by one who speaks with authority on this subject.  On the other hand, some of the fruit-growers I talked to in Southern California described the legislation on the Chinese question as a "mistaken political despotism."  They complained that European labour is more expensive and can not be relied on, and that boys obtained from the purlieus of great cities are worse than useless.  Emigrants hitherto have been families seeking homes of their own, whereas day labourers are required, and some are bold enough to say that the day is not far distant when Californian fruit-growers and San Francisco merchants alike will clamour for a repeal of the Chinese Restriction Act.


 
CHAPTER XV.


Strawberries in February; roses and geraniums growing in the open air—New Orleans and Colorado and California contrasted—Oakland and the Ebell Society—Fresno—An exciting drive through the colonies—Miss Austin's vineyard—Mr. Miller of the Fresno Republican—Mr. A. B. Butler—Raisin making—The Eisen vineyard—Sampling California wines—Family Emigration and the kind of people wanted—Bee culture—An ostrich ranche.


I HARDLY knew whether I felt more amazed to see on all sides of me, in February, strawberries on the dinner table, lilies, roses, and geraniums in full bloom in the open air, and the houses covered with honeysuckles, jasmine, and passion flowers, or to find myself, in spite of asthmatic tendencies, daily able to drive for hours in an open carriage with impunity.  Nothing to compare with this climate and temperature had I ever before experienced during an American winter save in Colorado and in New Orleans; here, and in Colorado, there is a buoyancy and freshness that is quite invigorating; whereas in New Orleans most people find the air too close and exhausting even in January.  I am glad, however, that I had an opportunity of seeing the "sunny south" with its cotton-fields and sugar plantations, in spite of the many disadvantageous circumstances connected with my visit.  I was not particularly happy in my surroundings during the time I spent there last winter, but the days were so exquisite that the mere enjoyment of living seemed to suffice.  Here, in California, before the rainy season thoroughly set in, I had sunshine within and without, and kind friends seemed to rise up on all sides who could not do enough to make my residence among them thoroughly enjoyable.  I had some pleasant trips across the bay to Alameda and Oakland.  I saw in the distance the State University, open to both sexes, which flourishes at Berkeley, and thanks to Mr. and Mrs. F. Smith's hospitality, spent some very pleasant hours in driving through perfect avenues of villa residences, round which fuchsias, verbenas, roses, geraniums, and tropical plants were growing luxuriantly, and also to other picturesque places which greet you at every turn in this attractive neighbourhood.  Oakland is naturally very proud of its ladies' club, known as the Ebell Society, formed for the advancement of art, science, and literature, and to promote successful organized work for women.  It accorded me a very kind afternoon reception, at which I was able to meet ladies well known for their good works in divers directions.  The president is very active in the temperance cause, and, as a sister of one of my most valued Canadian friends, now living in Montreal, we did not meet as mere strangers, but a cordial understanding from the first moment subsisted between us.

    At last the time arrived for me to proceed on my journey, for I had an engagement which obliged me to be in St. Louis at a certain date.  With great reluctance I bade farewell to San Francisco early one morning, and reached Fresno city after a long day's journey by the Southern Pacific Railroad, which ran sometimes by the banks of the river, where proud herons stalked about with upraised heads, perfectly indifferent to the approach of the noisy locomotive; sometimes by wheat ranches, and then for many miles over wild tracks, where the ground-squirrels, jack rabbits, gophers, and owls reigned supreme.  Fresno county is one of the largest in the State of California, and the central portion comprises a large part of the San Joaquin Valley.  On one side is the coast range of mountains, on the other the far-famed Sierra Nevadas enclose the Yosemite with its gigantic trees.  The snows exclude the traveller from this enchanted region till April or May, and I could therefore only gaze with wonder on the various peaks from 13,000 to 15,000 feet high, crowned with eternal ice and snow, and imagine the wonders enshrined within the unapproachable gorges and caverns.  Merced and Madera are at present the principal points of departure for the Yosemite; but the energetic city of Fresno, which undoubtedly has a great future before it, hopes to make a railroad ere long to the entrance of the valley, and by this means to bring all the tourists into her midst, to the benefit of the entire community.

    The day after I arrived, I started early in the morning on an expedition to the various vineyards and colonies, for the fame of the Fresno colony, American colony, Washington colony, Temperance colony, and Scandinavian colony, had already reached me.  "We will drive first to Miss Austin's," said my host, Mr. Miller, proprietor of the Fresno Republican, as soon as I had accomplished the difficult feat of getting into the most extraordinary vehicle I ever saw in my life.  The driver at once gave a flick with his long whip to our team of four horses, and in another moment we were rapidly—far too rapidly for my peace of mind—jolting over what must, I suppose, by courtesy be styled a road.

    I use that word jolting advisedly, for road-making is an undiscovered science in America.  There are ways to a place, but no roads in our English acceptation of the term.  Even in some of the large cities in the East this is a noticeable feature.  I was told by a friend in Cincinnati, of the fate that awaited the London-built carriages that a rich citizen in a weak moment had been tempted to bring over from England.  In one month he was mourning over their broken springs and general wreckage!  Out in the wilds of California I had perhaps no right to expect a smooth highway, and ought not to have been as surprised as I was at the various ways in which our progress that day was arrested.  In the first place, the so-called road abounded in pitfalls, and owing to some recent rains these were filled with mud.  By way of reassuring me, I suppose, one gentleman of the party began to describe how the horses sometimes disappeared to their ears in these holes, and the occupants of the machine behind them had to escape from the situation as they best could, while some valiant spirit cut the traces and released the animals, and left the vehicle for future ministrations!  In order to escape so lively an experience, it was deemed prudent to make tracks of our own across the fields.  This proved to be by no means so easy as it at first appeared, for the ground is undermined by various animals—the gray squirrels speeding from under the horses' feet with flying leaps, while the jack rabbits indulged in long kangaroo-like bounds, round, when they had put a sufficient distance between us, to contemplate the unwelcome intruders on their domains.

    At first sight the soil seemed unfruitful to the last degree, but it has really marvellous capabilities; and after five miles of this exciting kind of driving we reached Hedge Row vineyard.  Our horses rattled over a little creaky wooden bridge, only just wide enough to take the carriage, which finally drew up before a charming cottage embowered in flowers, and guarded by a lordly turkey cock who resented our appearance, and then craved for notice, after the fashion of his conceited English relatives.  Out stepped the bright little lady, who five years ago gave up school-teaching in San Francisco, and purchased a hundred-acre lot, which she now manages in conjunction with three spinster friends and a few Chinamen.  Inside the house was an open piano; on the table were the latest books and magazines—showing that raisin-growing had not dulled the fair proprietor's interest in the intellectual side of life.

    Miss Austin has planted hundreds of peach, apricot, and nectarine trees.  In the midst of so much raisin-growing it is strange to see but few almond-trees.  They seem so indissolubly connected that I felt inclined to resent their being sundered in the process of growth; but on inquiring the cause I was told that they did not flourish in this soil.  I had already been given, in San Francisco, a box of Miss Austin's raisins, "as the best produced in the State," so that I was very glad to have an opportunity of seeing the vineyard itself, and the clever woman who had taken so new a departure in female industry.  The greatest part of her land is devoted to vines for raisin-making; these are of the sweetest Muscat variety.  In the raisin-house were piles of the neat familiar boxes which used to delight my childish heart at Christmas times, long before the thought of how raisins grew, the coming need for developing employments for the support of women ever troubled my mind.  The process of raisin-making is very simple.  The grapes remain on the vines till they are perfectly ripe.  Some required to be of a golden colour.  Growers with great capital and skill use artificial heat to supplement the sun-drying process, but it is found sufficient here to place the bunches of grapes cut from the vines, in trays between the rows, sloping to the sun.  They are turned at intervals, and, when they lose their ashy appearance, are removed to the barn known as "the sweating-house."  Here they remain till all the moisture is extracted, and the stems become tough and the raisins soft.  The packing follows, in which iron or steel packing-frames are used; the raisins are assorted, weighed, inspected, and made presentable before being put into boxes and sent to the market.  In 1880 Miss Austin's ranche produced 20,000 pounds of raisins; since then she has built a good packing-house, and it is expected that her vineyard will very soon be worth about 30,000 dollars.

    We then drove to several other places, and saw many thriving homes and small farms.  Alfalfa seems a sure crop in Fresno; sweet potatoes and Egyptian corn thrive here; honey can be produced in unlimited quantities, for there are countless acres of wild flowers—larkspurs, nemophilas, lupines, sunflowers—on which the bees can disport themselves rent free.

    We made a short halt at the central colony, established a few years since by Mr. Bernard Marks, once a miner then a public school-teacher, finally a farmer on the banks of the San Joaquin.  This industrious, practical man has a splendid ranche, forty acres in vines, and twice that amount in alfalfa, from which he realizes four crops a year of from one to two tons an acre.  We found him busy in his barn among his men, working with an energy which was evidently contagious.  Nine handsome Jersey cows, and others of various kinds, keep a dairy well at work, and the cheese and butter produced command the best prices in the Fresno market.

    Another hour's perilous driving brought us, about luncheon time, to Mr. Butler's extensive vineyard.  The exciting exercise and invigorating atmosphere had produced such keen appetites, that none of our party were loth to accept the hospitable fare set before us; after which we took a walk through the grounds and visited the packing-house, which must indeed present a lively scene when hundreds of tons of raisins have to be picked and made ready in five, ten, and twenty pound boxes, marked and despatched for sale in Europe.

    Thoroughly revived by food and rest, and under the special guidance of Mr. Butler, whose familiarity with the "worse roads" still to be encountered renewed our courage, we reseated ourselves behind the fiery steeds, that neither distance nor bad travelling seem to tame, and leaving the five hundred acres occupied by the Fresno Vineyard Company soon behind, we arrived at the famous Eisen vineyard.  The approach to the house was an avenue more than a mile long, of oleander and poplar trees, many of them eighty feet high.  We explored the vast wine cellars, and then, ensconced in a pleasant nook among the trees, we basked in the glorious afternoon sunshine, and "sampled" California port, sherry, claret, and champagne, while some particularly lean and restless greyhounds contemplated us with languid eyes.  The exquisite colour of the wine struck me more than its flavour; but, considering the age of the wine, the latter is more than creditable.  The Muscat wine is too luscious for English taste.  There is, however, in California, one champagne, which those accustomed to European dry wines will appreciate, namely, "The Eclipse," made by Havaszthy & Co., of San Francisco; all the wine has to be sent to that city to be "finished"; and the firm named above, and Kohler and Frohling, are amongst the best manipulators of the Californian grape.  There is no doubt that the quality of the wines and brandies produced in this State is improving every year, and when the manufacturers learn the best processes and methods of treatment, Californian wines will become more popular than they are at present.  At present the foreign label on the native wine is found the readiest means for promoting its sale.  I was told that Henri Grosjean, the French Commissioner, had spoken very favourably of the future of the vineyards of Fresno, and expects that, "when the irrigation problem is settled, the San Joaquin valley will become the France of America—the vineyard of the world."  He thinks the sandy land of Fresno county and the hill regions adapted for viticulture, because the soil renders the vines less liable to the ravages of the destructive phylloxera, which seems likely to ruin those of France.

    The pride of Fresno is still Mr. Barton's vineyard, but our efforts to reach it proved unavailing.  The evening was near at hand, and the roads were impassable; a horseman we fortunately met told us that no vehicle could possibly get there without going back into Fresno and taking another route.  So the attempt was abandoned, our horses' heads were turned homewards, and a pleasant dinner at the Grand Central Hotel brought a very enjoyable day to a conclusion.

    Fresno boasts of a Court-house which resembles an Italian villa in appearance, and has cypresses planted around it; it has, like San Francisco, its Chinese quarter, with shops having gilded signs and hieroglyphics on red and yellow paper.  While Sing Chong keeps a miscellaneous store, Yuen Wa advertises himself as a "Labour Contractor," and Sam Sing keeps a laundry of the usual pattern.  As a rule the Chinese in Fresno are not disliked, but are allowed to be capable and industrious.

    Before I left the town I was offered twenty acres of vineyard of five years' growth—my friend another twenty; a house according to our own plans was to be built for us, if we promised to spend four months out of each year in this desirable locality.  But, alas! the ocean which rolls between this bright, promising land and my well-beloved London, to say nothing of the growing infirmities of age, obliged me to decline the generous inducement held out to me.  The labour question is the great difficulty which has to be solved before Fresno can be properly developed, and I was assured that if I could send out a thousand industrious English emigrants, they would all have plenty of work to do at once.  People with a little capital would be able to secure good land in profitable places, and who can predict the future greatness of the golden State?

    I do not advise any one to start off in the hope of realizing immense fortunes, but people who will be content with making a good living in a mild yet invigorating climate, where animal and vegetable life is unusually robust, and crops are not destroyed by cyclones or blizzards, will certainly not regret pitching their tents among the foothills of the Sierra-Nevada mountains.

    There is a large demand for family emigration, not only in Los Angeles and Southern California, but all over the State from San Diego to Sishiyou, in the counties of Sonoma, Mendocino, Ventura, Humboldt, Yolo, Colusa, Tehama, Stanislaus, Merced, Solano, Contra Costa, and Marin—there is room for thousands of emigrants.  There is work, too, for the women of the family; and, in addition to work, it was greatly pressed upon my attention that "there are many hundreds of prosperous bachelors, needing only the aid of well-regulated family life and female society to make their condition what it should be."

    It must certainly be borne in mind that thriftless people will not succeed better in California than in England.  In the West, life is simple, the fare is often hard and coarse, and it is the fashion to work hard, spend little, and save something.  Those who are not prepared to emigrate under such conditions, will do well to remain at home.

    The President of the Immigration Association in San Francisco was justified when he inserted the following observation into the leaflet for new settlers: "He who deserves success begins at bed-rock, keeps out of debt, buys as little as he can, wears his old clothes, works early and late, plants trees and vines for the future, leaves whisky alone, and has a definite aim and plan in life.  Such a man can come to California with a small capital, and find it a 'good State for the poor man.'"

    Pomona is a pleasant little settlement in South California, alike protected from harsh sea and desert winds.  Here an industry peculiarly suitable to women, namely, bee-culture, is assuming great importance.  Large apiaries along the mountain slopes are returning handsome profits to their owners.

    The ostrich ranche at Anaheim is a novel experiment attracting a great deal of attention just now.  Dr. Sketchley began with a few of these strange birds, which thrive on the sandiest soil, and cost but little to feed.  Their peculiar habits compel a certain amount of vigilance, but their eggs and feathers fetch such a high price in the market, that the industry appears likely to prove very profitable.  Some choice specimens of Japanese Imperial persimmons were produced last year by Mrs. L. Parker at Anaheim.  This is a fruit which can not be plucked and eaten; it has to be laid aside for a month in a dark place before it is ripe and pleasant to the taste.

    The large share women have already taken in agricultural pursuits led to the appointment of four ladies on the Board of a secret society suggested by the Masonic Order, and known as "The Grange," which was started by a Scotchman to promote "the interests of the cultivators of the soil in a business and social point of view."  These ladies filled the offices of Ceres, Pomona, Flora, and lady assistant steward.  There are now Granges distributed all over the country, and they aspire to effect great moral and social good.  Dr. Lessing gives a detailed account of their operations in his work entitled The American Centenary, and thinks the place given to women in the Grange is too important to be overestimated.  He points out the vast physical and mental labour performed directly or indirectly by women in the food production of the country, in milking, churning, and preparing butter and cheese for use, etc.  He continues:


"To these occupations must be added the assistance of women in planting, weeding, cultivating, haying, harvesting, and even the care of live stock, particularly in the Western States and Territories.  Computed at the true value, it will be found that woman's labour in farming holds a conspicuous place in the census of agricultural operations, and the production of our national wealth.  There is, therefore, essential need for her thorough education, encouragement, elevation, and fostering love, by every citizen interested in the welfare of his country, for she is truly 'a helpmeet for man.'"


    In California as in Colorado, I thought far more might be done in the way of poultry-keeping than has as yet been accomplished; a profitable trade is carried on in Angora goats; no State possesses better mules, or makes more use of them; an immense deal is done in sheep-raising and wool-growing; the dairy interest is enormous, good cows are worth sixty dollars a head, and pay for themselves at least once in the year.  The Spanish steer and the mustang horse which once roamed over the country at their own sweet will, have been supplanted by the Dutch and Pennsylvania team horses, and the trotters raised in the blue-grass section of Kentucky; the wild oats they fed on have given place to the best scientific wheat culture, alfalfa and Chili clover; the latter is so dearly loved by the California hog, that his nose has to be decorated with a wire ring to prevent him from tearing out its long juicy root.  The fruit canneries yield immense profits.  A San Jose Packing Factory requires 50,000 pounds of fruit a day to keep it going, and has obtained gold medals at the London and Australia exhibitions.  Among the best fruit for canning I may name the yellow Crawford peach, the Moor Park and Royal apricot, the Bartlett pear, the great Bigorean cherries, and the Muscat grape.  It seems impossible to surmise the magnitude to which this industry will grow, for already it is found difficult to supply the European market, the demand has increased so rapidly within the last three years.



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